2012 Falcons Free Agency: Why John Abraham Should Be the Highest Priority

Scott Carasik@ScottCarasikContributor IIFebruary 20, 2012

Lofton and Decoud are both FA's in 2012
Lofton and Decoud are both FA's in 2012Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons had a good year this past year going 10-6, but they have quite a few free agents this offseason: 18 unrestricted, one restricted and three exclusive right. They are lucky in that right now they are $30M under the 2011 cap number of $120M and could very well be $35M under the cap once it is announced in the expected $125M area.

Here is the list of the Falcons free agents:

Unrestricted Free Agents
QB Chris Redman
RB Jason Snelling
WR Harry Douglas
WR Eric Weems
TE Reggie Kelly
OT Kirk Chambers
C Brett Romberg
C Todd McClure
DE John Abraham
DE Kroy Biermann
LB Mike Peterson
LB Curtis Lofton
CB Kelvin Hayden
CB Brent Grimes
S Thomas Decoud
S James Sanders
LS Joe Zelenka

Restricted Free Agents
DT Vance Walker


Exclusive Rights Free Agents
TE Michael Palmer
OG Andrew Jackson
RB Antone Smith

Abraham should terrorize NFC South QB's til he retires
Abraham should terrorize NFC South QB's til he retiresGrant Halverson/Getty Images

Looking up and down the free agent lists you see a few easy re-signings in there with guys like LS Joe Zelenka, DT Vance Walker and all three exclusive rights free agents. But one of the most interesting situations is what John Abraham decides to do.

He carried a cap number of over $8 million last year, and while he is worth a good bit, he isn’t an $8 million man anymore.

The principles of team building state that it revolves around the quarterback. Find your franchise QB (Matt Ryan); protect your franchise QB (work in progress) and get after the opposing QB.

Considering this John Abraham then becomes top priority for the Falcons, even ahead of guys like Pro Bowler Brent Grimes and Pro Bowl snub Curtis Lofton.

Mike Nolan’s defense is predicated on the pass rush and the 33-year-old showed he still had it last year with his 9.5 sacks, eight QB hits and 37 hurries in only 622 of the Falcons almost 1,100 snaps.

He was the most effective pass-rusher last year averaging a pressure on over 15 percent of all the plays he was on the field.

So Falcons fans, squawk off! Who is the most important free agent to you?